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Ribfest 2009 season - anyone been?

My nearest Ribfest is on this weekend and I'm interested to hear of any CHers experiences at any of the other Ribfests that have already taken place, such as Toronto, Pickering, etc. Many of the same ribbers show up at various rib events and in my experience you can never base your choice on which ribber has the longest lineup.

Thanks!

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  1. My wife and I usually split a pound of pulled pork in sauce from Gator but tried their ribs and they were a bit disappointing.

    1. I was just going to ask the same thing. I'll be going to the Scarborough Ribfest on Saturday. Which vendor should I get my ribs from:

      Bad Wolfe BBQ
      Bibb's Barbeque
      Blazin' BBO
      Camp 31
      Crabby's Barbeque
      Gator BBQ
      Hawgs Gone Wild
      Jack the Ribber
      Tennessee Fatbacks
      Thirsty Cactus

      10 Replies
      1. re: jtamin

        Camp 31 is usually the peoples choice for some reason but personally I'd probably go for Bad Wolf or Hawgs Gone Wild... Didn't like Bibb's or Crabby's... never tried a few of those people though..

        1. re: jtamin

          I had a 1/3 rack from Bad Wolfe BBQ and they were delicious. I prefer a slightly sweeter sauce over a smoky one, and theirs was perfect for me. I brought home a full rack for later, and they seem a bit dry. So I guess anywhere can be hit or miss and you have to take a look at what they're giving you (buyer beware). I also got some pulled pork from Crabby's but found it a bit dry. It's very tasty, but not quite saucy enough for my liking.

          In past years I've gotten Gator and been very happy with them. Their sauce is a bit smokier and more tangy than Bad Wolfe's.

          Be prepared, though...a full rack of ribs is $22 this year. Bad Wolfe was selling theirs for $20 up until about 2 pm today, and when I went to buy my full rack it still said that price. Unfortunately, I decided to go down to Crabby's at the end and get the pulled pork first, and when I came back only a few minutes later the price had gone up. According to the cashier, it's because they have to be environmentally responsible "here" (not sure if she meant Thompson Park specifically, or Scarborough, the GTA ,Ontario, etc.). It was nice, though, to get everything served in cardboard instead of styrofoam. And they have recycling stations that are very easy to figure out and use.

          Sunday and Monday might be rainy, so be prepared for it to be VERY busy tomorrow. Enjoy!

          1. re: CeeQueue

            Two votes for Bad Wolfe. I think I'll try them out. How much was the 1/3 rack? Do they sell half racks?

            1. re: jtamin

              IIRC, a third rack is $9 and a half is $13. The price for a full rack went up to $22 while I was there. Very disappointing. I heard Blazin' BBQ was still selling them for $20, but I don't know how they are (they get better reviews than some of the others if you check around on the 'net).

            2. re: CeeQueue

              Pickering was environmentally friendly, but only charged $20!

              1. re: Hooter1

                I'll be interested to see what happens with the prices at Burlington.

                I wonder if they were told they'd have to truck out all their garbage because of the strike? There was talk that the Scarborough event would be cancelled, then it was announced it would go ahead as planned (and this before the strike was over, I believe).

                It sucks and quite frankly makes the ribs not worth it.

              2. re: CeeQueue

                I like Gator's sauce as when I smoke ribs at home I mix a cup of Gator sauce with a 1/4 cup of honey on the stove and use it to glaze the ribs during the last 15 min of cooking...nice sauce not too smoky for I use the smoker so fake smokey is not needed in this case....the ribs at these places are basically the same in premise...side ribs, they cook on gas cookers and finish over charcoal. Prices all about the same...expensive....Differentiators is some use rub, but not many, and their brand of sauce...Jack Daniels at the Toronto one had nice sauce and you could try it before buy it as they had the sauce in squirt containers. And the squirt of JD at the end but that was more for show than anything.

              3. re: jtamin

                Just came from there! Ribs from Tennessee Fatbacks were the worst I have ever had at any Ribfest anywhere - ever! They were tough, chewy and fatty with almost no sauce!

                1. re: Hooter1

                  Went back again yesterday and Crabby's should be renamed Crappy's - they were terrible. Also tried the chip things from the place selling Bloomin onions and they were disgustingly bad! What a disappointment this year! Beer was good though!

                  1. re: Hooter1

                    Crabbys sucks bigtime. You are absolutely right... they were like the least favorite of any of the vendors we tried

              4. I stopped by Markham Ribfest this year and overall was extremely dissapointed. Camp 31's ribs were too salty and way too fatty. I had some decent pulled pork fom Bad Wolfe (I think!)

                1. Gravenhurst Ribfest (4 - 5 vendors) was on last weekend in the pouring rain, and the winner was Camp 31. We had the ribs from Gator and I also thought somewhat disappointing...tough and sauce not screaming great either.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: LoN

                    St Catherines had their ribfest on the long weekend.

                    Had a GREAT half rack from Bone Daddy's (my first time of their's). Nicely seasoned, you could taste an herby undertone on the rub, meaty, moist, characteristic smoke ring present, fall off the bone, slightly smoky sauce, just the right amount. Grilled over real charcoal.

                    I think by now over the past 3 years I've tried every vendor. Camp 31 last time at the Beaches was highly disappointing. I was surprised to see NO lineup at Camp 31 in St Catherines, I'm really believing line-up lengths are completely random. Not much of a lineup at Bone Daddy's either.

                    Size of ribs varied, both intra and inter-vendor wise. It's likely due to the meat supplier and not the vendor, so depends on your luck!

                  2. Went to the Etobicoke one and really enjoyed it. We enjoyed the ribs at the booths with fewer lineups than the booths with the long lineups. The two Canadian ones we went to were very good. Sorry can't remember the names.

                    Don't get anything else - ice cream, corn, fries, etc etc. They are all a rip off. Just stick to the ribs and chicken and maybe the sides from the booths and if you really want to overspend for alchohol go ahead.